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Opinion

Violent games decrease real-life violence

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May 7, 2008

My friends and I have come to the conclusion that Grand Theft Auto IV, the amazing new felony simulator from Rockstar Games, really brings out the worst in people.

This was finally proven to me after we had a little party with some of our favorite pacifists. What transpired was nothing less than shocking.

GTA IV is an organized crime-themed action game that takes place in an incredibly detailed digital version of New York City (renamed “Liberty City” in the game).

The game allows you to live out your wildest gangster fantasies in the soft, pale underbelly of Liberty City.

Mother Teresa, one of our GTA party guests, really took things too far when it was her turn to explore the digital New York.

First, little old Mother Teresa hijacked a Buick, cracking the driver in the neck before kicking his ass to the curb.

She revved up the engine in her new car and drove wildly through Liberty City’s version of Times Square, crunching pedestrians and bouncing off parked cars like they were guard rails.

Mother Teresa finally leapt out of the Buick, sending it flying into a group of passersby, busted out a 12-gauge combat shotgun and laid waste to a platoon of cops trying to end her wild rampage.

When Mama T’s turn was over, I saw a wild-eyed look of sadistic glee in her wrinkly little eyes. Good thing it’s just a game!

Nelson Mandela was next, and boy did he inflict some damage! After casually rolling a frag grenade under a semi-truck stuck in traffic, Mandela whipped out his knife and approached the explosive scene with murderous intent.

He ripped an older gentleman out of his rusted-out jalopy and forced a knife-fight, which he won, of course.

Mandela played around with traffic, parking a Hummer in the middle of an intersection. As cars began piling up in the ensuing chaos.

Mandela cleaned the place up with several well-placed rockets from his military-grade bazooka. The only sound Mandela made while playing? Laughter. Evil, maniacal laughter.

Martin Luther King Jr. wanted to try out the game as well.

Though confident he could maintain a manner of lawful obedience and order, Luther fell quickly to the lucrative seductions of crime.

He began by pushing a Hispanic gangster into traffic. After being clipped in the hip by a passing sports car, the gangster got angry in a hurry. He whipped out a pistol and began firing at King Jr., who reacted viciously and mercilessly.

With the help of a newly-purchased Uzi, King Jr. quickly disposed of the gangster, only to find the victim’s gangster friends standing ominously behind him.

Amid angry cries of “Eat a dick, motherfucker!” and “What the fuckin’ fuck, man?” (real lines of in-game dialogue).

King Jr. kept his cool and switched to an assault rifle, which proved to be a most convenient (if not the ultimate) solution. Who says violence can’t solve problems?

I let Bono, lead singer of the crappy band U2, play as well. However, the generous schmuck gave up soon after finding out that the only thing you can actually GIVE to people in Liberty City is a gut (or face) full of lead.

Yes, our pacifist guests certainly became giddy with the power of a 12-gauge shotgun and a rocket launcher. But that doesn’t mean that they’ll one day take their rude shenanigans to the real streets.

Politicians and parents love to insist that GTA will one day destroy the ethical integrity of our children. But this simply isn’t happening—if anything, the more one plays Grand Theft Auto, the less one becomes interested in real-life crime.

How boring must a carjacking be in real life when compared to the marvelous, pulse-pounding, ultraviolent chaos of crime in Liberty City? Once you experience the glory of video game crime, the real thing just seems to lose all its shiny charm.

Joe Hager is a student at UW-River Falls.